Reflections of My Travels With Women's Division to Japan for the Ceremony of the 66th Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima
How grateful I am to Women’s Division for my experiences in Japan.
My 11-day trip to the other side of the world was an amazing time, from staying with my incredibly loving and hospitable host family, to having a giant sleepover at Jogakuin University with 40 of the nicest girls I’ve ever met, to attending the incredible seminar on peace and reconciliation, to participating in the moving anniversary ceremony. Every lecture, every story, every activity and every relationship has had a lasting effect on me.
Most memorable were the survivors. I thank them for being brave enough to become so vulnerable as to share their stories, stories I have told and will continue to tell. I was inspired by their feelings of forgiveness. I was impressed by their dedication to peace. I was embraced by their love and hospitality. In fact, I found this attitude of gracious hospitality in every single person I met while in Japan.
My life has been forever changed. My desire for peace is now a passion for peace. Like the words of the speaker on nuclear disarmament, Mr. Leeper, I will no longer treat peace like a hobby but rather as a lifestyle, a lifelong “fight” (a nonviolent fight, of course) against conflict and a dedication to peace.
Not only did this seminar give me a more personal understanding of peace but it also brought me closer to God. Miracles happened, born of the love and thoughtfulness of the seminar organizers. Miracles such as the unexpected visit from Mr. Masahiro Sasaki, the brother of Sadako. Sadako was the young victim of the bombing of Hiroshima who folded a thousand peace cranes before she died of leukemia. Mr. Sasaki, her brother, blessed us with his presence and his reoccurring messages from God. He let us know God was with us.
To all those who made this trip a reality, domo arigato gozaimasu!
Annabelle Bricker is a member of United Methodist Women and a freshman at Emory University.